Monday, August 8, 2011

Food In The Church by Cecelia Dowdy

Food In The Church by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you remember the events at your church (both past and present) that involved food? If so, what were your favorite dishes?

Growing up, I don't really recall having many events in my congregation that involved us enjoying food. I grew up a Jehovah's Witness and at the congregation where my family attended, I only remember a couple of picnics with hot dogs and hamburgers - there may have been other JW food events, and it's possible that it's escaped my memory, that was so long ago. These JW events were never at the place of worship, but usually at a park.

Later, as an adult, I initially joined an AME church and they served us spaghetti on the day that they hosted the New Member Class. I recall, I thought the spaghetti was just okay and the church ladies prepared it in the church kitchen in the basement. The AME church also sponsored an annual picnic every fall. I only attended this picnic one time and it was catered. The food was just okay. I recall eating a hamburger, hot dog, and baked beans.

Later on, right before we got married, my husband and I joined a Baptist church - we still attend this church. The only food event that our church sponsors each year, which we attend, is their annual picnic. Like the AME church mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Baptist church picnic is catered. We didn't enjoy the food much this year - the burgers were underdone. I hate seeing pink meat in my burger.

What's the point of this blog post? Well, over the years when I've had conversations with people, they'll sometimes reminisce about church/pot luck suppers sponsored by their church. They'll also recall certain dishes prepared by the parishioners that were their favorites. Usually it was a favorite dessert (pie, cake or cookies), or a favorite casserole dish. I've never had this kind of experience within the church and I wondered if any of you blog readers have? Also, on my other blog, I enjoy talking about food occasionally and I've also shared recipes.

So, do you remember any favorite church events, past or present, that involved food? What kind of event was it? What were your favorite dishes? Were any of these events catered, or did the parishioners provide the food?

Leave your responses in the comments!

~Cecelia Dowdy~


Anonymous said...

I was a little girl once a year in the summer time our church would have a church picnic at a local state park. Everyone brought a dish. Good Times!!! My favoirte were fattening stuff.

Cynthia Herron said...

I love our Baptist church's potluck meals! We attend a large church, so all of the ladies' dishes are varied and quite deelish! Some of my faves: potato casserole, meatloaf, chili, homemade cinnamon rolls, and the list goes on! We usually do annual meals in the summer and fall, and a big Christmas dinner during the winter season.

Dulce said...

Never been to one of those .. well maybe in my first communion they did... but I can hardly remember.
Interesting post though!

Teresa Slack said...

I attend a Pentacostal church & we do several a year. Christmas dinner, annual church picnic, the Sunday night culminating VBS week--usually hotdogs and punch for that one--and something for Pastor Appreciation Day. We've only had a few catered. Everybody cooks and bakes and we eat too much. There are a few ladies in our church who are known for certain dishes. People line up & they're usually the first to go. I won't mention names here. Suffice it to say, yum yum.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Anon - my favorite would've probably been the fattening stuff, too! :-)
@Cynthia, all of those choices sound yummy!
@Dulce, thanks for commenting. As you saw in my post, I don't recall many meals like that either!
@Teresa - care to share which dishes are favorites at your church - the ones that you'd said are the first to go?

Cecelia Dowdy said...

After I finished my blog post, I thought about a few other food church events. I recall the Singles Ministry group at my old AME church would host a picnic. Food - just okay. I'd prefer making a dessert, but they told me to bring a casserole. Casserole, at a picnic? There was no place to heat it up! :-(

Also, my current Baptist church does serve food before mid-week service, but it's nothing fancy. The menu consists of Popeye's chicken, sweet tea, and spring water.

They also serve food at the Women's Conferences. I've only attended two of those. At one of them, they served a box lunch from Chick-Fil-A. At the other one that I attended, the Brothers in the congregation served our food: it consisted of a catered meal from Three Brothers, I think? Not 100% sure of the restaurant...just recalled the food was Italian and tasted delicious! They had lasagna, spaghetti, and buttered bread! :-) I think we had sodas to drink?

DenaNetherton said...

Gosh, there are so many it's hard to separate all the food memories. Our pastor's wife used to make Boston Cream pie and boy, was it good!

Cecelia Dowdy said...

You know, Dena, I've always wanted to make a boston cream pie from scratch - I just never got around to doing it. The last time I had a craving for one, I bought one from our local supermarket, Safeway. It wasn't good at all! :-(
We ended up throwing most of it away.

PatriciaW said...

Food was a constant at church, once I joined a Baptist church as a teen. Like the 13th disciple. We have few to no events that didn't involve big dinners cooked by the women's ministry. We junior members learned a whole lot about cooking and about serving food at these events. Even now, when I go home, I can't imagine not seeing food at the church.

Then in the Pentecostal faith I entered following marriage, food was often a centerpiece of an event, like the Men's Fish Fry or the women's Rainbow Tea. This doesn't even include the selling of dinners--chicken, ribs, fish, whatever--to raise money for various church auxiliaries.

Food and church go hand in hand.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Patricia - ya know, that's something else I've heard people talk about over the years: churches selling dinners. I've never been a member of a church that sold dinners. My sister was telling me that one of her coworkers was selling fish dinners through her church. My sister purchased one from her and she said the dinner was GOOD! :-)

Missy said...

I go to a Southern Baptist church. We have food EVERY Sunday. Yep. Fellowship=Food.

Made from scratch yellow cake with made from scratch chocolate frosting is my favorite. Fried okra was always a staple. Corn from someone's freezer, fried chicken. homemade biscuits and cornbread. Green beans cooked with ham or bacon until they are falling apart. Mac and cheese from scratch. My aunt would make coconut cake with fresh coconut and put the coconut milk in the cake.

We are the fattest denomination BTW hahahaha Any wonder

Sharon SS said...

I have attended Nazarene churches nearly all my life, and we like to joke that Nazarenes can't do anything without involving food. We have snacks with board meetings, donuts and coffee with Sunday school, pot luck dinners, spahgetti dinners, soup give-aways-you name it. As a child, our Sunday School picnics were epic!I am the Hospitality Director at my church now, and I get to orchestrate all the food-related occasions. (yum!) There's just something about breaking bread together- it feeds your spirit as well as your body, you know? BTW- I make a mean Boston Cream Pie myself! Sharon SS

Rose McCauley said...

I enjoyed this discussion as I thought all churches had monthly or even weekly potlucks with tables groaning with food! I always loved the desserts, too--cherry cheesecake torte, homemade pies, etc. My son always loved the home canned cream corn one now-deceased member always fixed. I know I put on a lot of weight at those dinners! Thanks for the memories, Cecelia! ps. and I don't remember ever having a catered dinner at our church except for a special even like a Mother-Daughter banquet.

Molly Noble Bull said...

I was raised in a liberal Episcopal church, became a Baptist after I married, and now we House Church. But when I was a Baptist, we had church dinners maybe as often as every month with lots of cakes, pies and cookies. I'm not sure eating all that fatting food was good for us, but it sure tasted good.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

@Missy - wow, that's a rarity for a church to have food like theat EVERY Sunday. But, it sounds tasty. I'm not a fan of coconut cake but I do like the way those green beans and that yellow cake with chocolate frosting sounds!
@Sharon SS - care to share your recipe for Boston Cream Pie?
@Rose - your church sounds homey, welcoming and yummy! No catered meals except for the M-D event? Nowadays, I'd just assumed everything was catered! Our church never has meals where we contribute the food!
@Molly - your Baptist days sound mighty yummy! Just curious, what is House Church? Is that like a starter church in someone's home?

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Cecelia,
Instead of answering your question about what a house church is, I will write my next article on it.
Stay tuned.

Cecelia said...

Molly, looking forward to your next article